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N.J. highest court keeps Corzine e-mail confidential

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  1. Freedom of Information
In refusing to hear the latest appeal from state Republicans on the issue, New Jersey’s highest court has ensured that e-mail…

In refusing to hear the latest appeal from state Republicans on the issue, New Jersey’s highest court has ensured that e-mail messages exchanged between the Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine and his former union leader ex-girlfriend about a state labor contract will not be forcibly released.

The New Jersey Supreme Court on March 18 declined to hear the case, making the final ruling that of the intermediate appeals court, which held that executive privilege shields the communications from the public. New Jersey Republicans, who fought for release of the e-mail messages between Corzine and the former head of Communications Workers of America Local 1034, Carla Katz, for almost two years, are calling for the governor to voluntarily release them anyway, The Star-Ledger reported. The paper also published an editorial recommending the same.

Republicans sought the correspondence to determine whether Corzine’s relationship with Katz unduly influenced his decisions relating to the contract. The trial court initially ordered the documents released as government information under the state’s Open Public Records Act, but that order was overturned by the intermediate appeals court. Its opinion stated that the plaintiff, New Jersey Republican State Committee Chairman Thomas Wilson, had a "limited interest” in the messages that was outweighed by the need for confidentiality of government sources of information.